Ploughing on regardless, or very nearly! Work on the Dan Pearson / William Morris meadow at Compton Verney gets under-way…
As the great news that our project to enhance our west lawn reached its funding target, last Friday, the hard work ahead started to really hit home. We had of course been positive in our thinking and were prepared to push on with the ground works necessary – but couldn’t until we had the official thumbs-up. Unfortunately, this also coincided with a change in the weather to make things that little bit more challenging!
Last month we cut and baled the lawn as part of our annual program. Our next step, and a crucial one for the project is to get the seeds sown effectively, and before the weather turns too cold. The seeds arrived this morning from Emorsgate Seeds, three large sacks of selected wild flower mix.
We needed to open up the surface prior to seeding, and to do this we’ve employed the help of local agricultural contractor Nick Gasson who we’ve worked with before on many projects. Using larger equipment, as shown in the photo, Nick’s assistant Tom is preparing the area using a power harrow, which will subsequently be followed up with another machine that can sow the seed.
The tractor and machinery arrived with a flash of lightning and clap of thunder, which was all very exciting. Unfortunately however, what followed this was fifteen minutes of torrential rain that for a while stopped play. Thankfully the sun burst through and the short set-back didn’t stop the machine from doing its job in fine style.
At the close of play today, we find ourselves with harrowed turf across the area we need, which now needs to dry off somewhat before we can sow the seed mix evenly. We’ll be roping off the area for the foreseeable future, and will of course add some notices to explain our actions – I must admit that to the uninitiated, it does look a little drastic at the moment!
Trust me however, in the knowledge that everything we are doing, despite having a range of long-term benefits is ultimately reversible. All projects set within the historic environment should be, and this is certainly no different.
So there we have it, the first in a series of web posts to show the work on this lawn. Do follow this blog to keep up to date with progress on the lawn, especially during the run up to the Arts and Crafts House exhibition next June, when we hope to have a beautifully embellished wild flower lawn to set of the parterre to its best advantage.
Don’t forget – if you’re on twitter, you can also catch a few more up-to-the-minute posts by searching for the hashtag #CVGrounds. Or try popping #CVGrounds into Google!
Fingers crossed that the temperatures will work with us over the next week or so, but if it doesn’t; we’ll just have to plough on regardless!
Gary Webb, Head of Landscape and Gardens, Compton Verney.